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  #1  
Old 10-12-2006, 05:15 PM
amalgam amalgam is offline
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My first figurative clay sculpture

Hello,
I am going to start my first ever figurative sculpture in clay. I have done a few metal sculptures of the human body but never sculpting it in clay. I have some knowledge of human proportions in regards to the height, length of the limbs, etc., but I would like to get more information about the width and depth of the human anatomy. Since I am not going to work from a live model, but from flat pictures I do not have measurements to relate to, and I do not even have one picture with the pose that I want so I have to get a collage of pictures and try to get the idea from there. What would be a good source of information for anatomy proportions?
Thank you

Alfredo Alamo
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  #2  
Old 10-12-2006, 05:44 PM
Thatch Thatch is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

There are some books made for artists that are made up of photographs showing a nude that has a number of photos showing the same pose from different angles. I have one around somewhere but can't locate it to give you the title. There are around 20 poses with possibly 10 different camera angles of each pose. Since it is an artist's reference there would be no copy right infraction to use it as a source.

Thatch
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  #3  
Old 10-12-2006, 06:52 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

Thatch's suggestion is a good one. If there's a library or bookstore near you, check out or buy one or two books of artists' reference material. The human figure is quite subtle with regard to balance and proportion, so even with pictures I find it tricky.

On the other side of the matter, I have been actively sculpting figures for some fifteen years, with a little work going back about 40 years. Over that time I have done quite a bit of observing, and I now take the position that you can't go wrong on human proportions, if you stay within any kind of reasonable range: thin or thick torso, long arms and legs or short, big or small breasts or shoulders, and so on. Whatever you make will resemble some living person.
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Old 10-12-2006, 07:11 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

I can suggest two good books.

Anatomy for the Artist, Sarah Simblet, DK Publishing, New York, 2001, ISBN 0-7894-8045-X. Amazon.com's Editorial Review,

RawMoves, James Houston, Craftsman House, Sydney, 2000. These are beautiful photographs of the dancers of three ballet dance companies in individual and group dance poses, nearly all in the nude.
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  #5  
Old 10-12-2006, 11:00 PM
dwright dwright is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

The granddaddy of artist anatomy book is 'Human Figures in Motion' by Edweard Muybridge, but Simblet's book is real good.
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  #6  
Old 10-13-2006, 08:27 AM
cmustard cmustard is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

I'd like to echo what fritchie said, " you can't go wrong with human proportions" I agree with this.

Observing people, everyday is great exercise, endless shapes and forms. Also, use your own body as a reference. Stand in the gesture of your piece, feel your bones and muscles to get a sense of where things are and what they do.
That's the only thing about a model, you can look but can't touch (unless they allow it). So we miss that tactile education.
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  #7  
Old 10-13-2006, 09:06 AM
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GlennT GlennT is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

I think that the book Thatch is referring to is called;
"Illustrator's Reference Manual NUDES "
It is a helpful resource with various standing, seated, and reclining poses with men, women, and couples, each pose with about 9 or 12 shots in 360 degree rotation, repeated at 3 different camera heights.

GlennT
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  #8  
Old 10-13-2006, 06:46 PM
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fritchie fritchie is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

GlennT's remark about images or pictures at three different heights is very significant. People in my sculpture classes years ago all tended to stay at their own height while looking and sculpting, a natural habit. Fortunately, a more experienced student one year asked the instructor if he would try to recruit a small group for a life-sized modeling class. I was one of that group, and it quickly dawned on me that you really need to have your eyes sort of on level, above, and below the typical height to get shapes right.

I found the views from above extremely helpful, though I am a little above average in height (about 6 1 ). I had never had such clear views of upper shoulders, neck, and so on, before that. And all the other shapes - hips, abdomen, and so on, became more clear as well. I used a short stool to stand on - only about 15 to 18 .
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  #9  
Old 10-13-2006, 06:57 PM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

At life figure sessions, one can still lower oneself to see below eye level. But if the model is standing, it is nearly not possible to see from above.

Have we ever come across such model studios with large mirror on the ceiling to help observing from above?
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2006, 11:08 PM
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Alfred Alfred is offline
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Re: My first figurative clay sculpture

Remember you can always use yourself or someone you know to model for some photos and that way you cay see what happens to the body in the specific pose you're looking for. A large mirror in your studio also helps when you can look at smaller groups of muscles on yourself in the right pose. I will have to say however, that my work is never as strong as when I use a live model. Nothing can quite compare with direct observation.

Alfred
www.AlfredParedes.com
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